Information is vital for community development. Nyerere (1967) states that, "while other countries aim to reach the moon, we must aim for the time being at any rate to reach the villages by providing them with necessary information." Information can eradicate ignorance and help achieve economic, social, political, and cultural objectives toward the development of the entire community.
Information in a coherent form can raise aspirations, by turning people from fatalism and fear of change to a desire for a better life and the determination to work for it. This creates an intellectual climate that stimulates people to take a look at their current practices and future perspectives. Ideally, information brings about knowledge. No community can develop without knowledge, and a community can only become knowledgeable by information as a tool for development. Mchombu (2003) states that the contradiction between the vital role of information in development and its lack of official recognition in developing countries can hardly escape the attention of information specialists.
Stone (1993) highlights the irony in the fact that people developing countries have the least awareness of the use of information to overcome underdevelopment. Part of the reason lies in the role of information providers, government, politicians and policymakers. According to Stone (1993), "the challenge, therefore, is to produce valid models in which the socioeconomic impact of information activities could be assessed. In turn, such orientation would result in the design and creation of impactbeing information programs and services." If such impact can be demonstrated, it would increase the support of information as a vital resource in development.
Rural communities' information is largely hidden and not much has been discovered by researchers (Mchombo, 1992, MacAnny 1978, Rosenberg 1993 and Mumtaz et al 1998). The application of information needs, services, and systems to rural communities' development needs to be studied. It is also not surprising that many rural communities of the developing countries are aware of the existence and importance of libraries and other information agencies, but are not aware of the role of information in development. Chester, et al., (2006) asserts that information professionals and their intermediaries should reach out and assist community members.
Outreach to rural communities should address the following objectives:
* Identify the information they need or enable them to identify the types of information they may need;
* Provide the information they need or assist them to identify and use appropriate information sources (including experts and other human resources);
* Enable them to evaluate the information available or provided in relation to the purpose on hand;
* Enhance the community's information literacy, and
* Train and assist them to use...